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Linocut your lemons and limes

Citrus fruits add a splash of colour and stimulating fragrance to any home, and make an impressive Christmas centrepiece. Use linocutting techniques to bring your lemons and limes to the next level.

Linocut is a printmaking technique used to make reliefs on linoleum (a material made from all natural components, often used for floor coverings) which then gets covered in ink and used to make print copies. This centuries-old technique of carving can be used for creating designs in anything with a similar surface as lino.

Citrus fruits so happen to have a peel that take to linocutting incredibly well, and it is from this premise that author and maker Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell came up with this wonderfully festive and delicious smelling project. Below, she'll show you how to linocut citrus fruits and transform them into beautiful ornaments covered in intricate designs.

Citrus fruits on a wooden bowl

To make the linocut citrus fruits, you'll need:

  • Firm fresh lemons, limes and/or oranges
  • Aquarelle (water-based) pencil or pen
  • Lino-cutting tool

Tools you need to linocut citrus fruits: a lemon, lime and orange, linocut tool and a pencil

Step 1: Draw Your Design

Draw your design on skin of fruit. Deborah suggests the following patterns: snowflakes, spirals or stripes, leaves, crosses or hatching. Or if you're feeling confident with your cutting skills, you can also skip this step and use the linocutting tool directly onto the fruit without drawing a design. Simple designs are often the most effective.

Deborah says: “I like to draw two circles on either side of the fruit and four lines intersecting each other to make an eight point star."

Draw on the lime with the pencil to mark the design

Step 2: Cut with the Lino-cutting Tool

Cut along the lines carefully with the linocutting tool. To do so, hold the fruit firmly in one hand, push the tool into the fruit and, holding the tool still, rotate the fruit.

Start linocutting your lime: overhead view of hands linocutting lime

Keep the blade of the tool moving away from you. Children must not use linocutting tools without close supervision.

Overhead view of linocutting lime

Step 3: Wipe off Lines and Dry Fruits

Wipe off pencil/marker lines (if used) and leave fruits to dry. You can leave the fruits to dry somewhere warm such as on a radiator or an airing cupboard. The fruits will shrink.

Completed linocut limes in a bowl with other fruits and tool in the background

Your finished linocut citrus fruits

You can make these fruits uniform by using only one type, or mixing it up and having a colourful display of many types of citrus fruits. Lemons, limes and oranges come to mind, but clementines, oranges and maybe even grapefruits can add a nice colourful splash. Smaller fruits will dry out and be usable as ornaments quicker, so plan accordingly.

Once you've mastered these linocut citrus fruits, see what other projects Deborah offers. And if you're looking for a way to display your linocut lemons and limes, why not make a decorative woven basket, complete with course and kit that comes with everything you need to get started?